Hey, Amazon! Sell me MORE stuff

Hey, Amazon! Sell me MORE stuff

One of the criticisms I often see leveled at Amazon is that their devices are just selling machines for Amazon.

If that’s the case, they are more like mechanical looms than SmartPhones. 😉

I would looove an easy, seamless, 1-step process to buying things when I’m using my Amazon devices, but it just isn’t there yet.

On a daily basis, I use:

What may happen in all of these cases is that I’m reading/watching something, and it references something else…and I might want it.

Let me give you an example.

Right now, I’m reading (and enjoying very much)

These Are The Voyages, TOS, Season One ( Season One Book 1) (at AmazonSmile)
by Marc Cushman
4.8 stars out of 5, 84 customer reviews

It’s sort of an authorized “biography” of the first season of Star Trek: The Original Series. The author had official access to materials (and people). At times, we actually get a day by day description of what was happening…and why.

It’s priced at $9.95: but I’m reading it as a

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

loan, covered byour free month (and it would have been part of my $9.99 a month after that).

The author says:

“In the latter half of Day 4 and for the first half of Day 5 the action moved to sickbay, where the world gets its first glimpse of an ebook (as Gary Mitchell reads from a video screen)…”

While I might quibble with that statement (I pointed out a reference to a “pocket reading machine” in 1945 in Flash! Kindles foretold in 1945), I did want to go back and see that scene, to see just how close it was to how e-books are today**.

That episode

Where No Man has Gone Before (at AmazonSmile)

is available for me to watch as part of Prime video at no additional cost. We are Prime members, and one of the benefits of that is being able to watch a lot of videos which are covered by our annual fee.

I did do that…but I had to go to one of my devices and look up the episode.

What would be really cool is if I could highlight the name of the episode in the e-book, and it just automatically took me to the Amazon Instant Video product page, where I could watch it. Having to go look for it is a barrier.

Now, I realize that some of you may think that my title for this post doesn’t apply, here because: I’m only borrowing the video, not buying it; and I’m not paying anything additional for it.

I think the same concept applies. I’m doing a “secondary buy”. Amazon wants me to “buy” Prime (they really, really want that…they are spending tons of money getting people to do that), and to remain a Prime member. Having me enjoy Prime is part of that, and getting me easily to a video I want to watch is a way to get me to enjoy it.

I’d also like to see them tell me how much money I saved…like I get at the end of my Safeway grocery receipt.

They don’t have to show me a running total (which could conceivably disappoint some people), but popping something up that says I saved $2.99 by watching this as part of my Prime (as opposed to buying it) would be nice and a validation for me to be in the program. The same thing should happen when I order a physical object with Prime…let me know what the two-day shipping would have been.

Oh, and even the highlighting could be easier. If I press one word in a title, there could be logic to look to see if that is part of an italicized phrase, in quotations, or part of a group of words in “Title Case” (all major words capitalized). It might have to offer the full selection (in case you were trying to look up one word in a quotation in a book), but I think it’s entirely doable.

The key thing here is that Amazon needs a search from within content for things it can sell you or secondarily sell you.

If one book mentions another book, let me jump to it with the option to borrow/read it.

If a book mentions a person, let me jump from that name to a store at Amazon…and a complete store, not just one kind of content.

These Are the Voyages mentions

George Takei (at AmazonSmile)

If you click that link, it takes you to Amazon’s author page for Takei, which has a bio, a picture, latest tweet, blogposts…but no links to videos, games, clothing, and so on featuring the actor.

Absolutely, give me a way to filter to just books if I want (and they do let you filter by book format now), but give me a hub to everything Takei.

This should even work for non-brand names.

If I’m reading about somebody eating trail mix, I should be able to highlight that and be taken to a search at Amazon for trail mix.

Here’s another idea.

If a book mentions “…great movies of the 1930s”, and I choose to pursue that, first check for books or content with that phrase in the title. Then, do a search (using Silk) on the web. Here’s the kicker: give me a choice to filter to Amazon results.

So, the search finds The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

The “Amazon results” search then reenters those names into the content search at Amazon…and bam! I can get them there.

That would make Silk useful for me. 😉

Even though I wrote about

Why I don’t use Amazon’s Silk browser

I have started to use it more on my Fire Phone.

That’s because they have a nice feature that works there…and doesn’t work in other browsers (I have Maxthon, my browser of choice) added to the phone.

When you are on a website, you can tip the phone back to scroll. The steeper the tip, the faster the scroll. It’s surprisingly nice to be able to scroll without touching the screen. The Fire Phone specializes in “no touch navigation”…which really does keep the screen considerably cleaner.

That’s a feature that is getting me to use Silk…having Amazon search results, reached intuitively and conveniently from my content would be another…and would result in more sales and borrows (and thus, enhanced loyalty) from Amazon.

These sorts of things should also happen when I’m watching video. See a TV character wearing a piece of clothing you want? I’d love to be able to ask my device to note it, and maybe find it for me later on Amazon. On a touchscreen device, it might be a question of tapping the clothing. When you wanted, it would ask you if you wanted more information on the actor, on what they were wearing, on the profession the person represented, on the character…lots of possibilities.

Is any of this easy?

No, and I understand that.

Would it make me even more bonded to Amazon? Without a doubt.

Bonus deal:Amazon had a deal yesterday with $20 off lots of “flavors” of the Paperwhite. Today, there is a one day deal with a much bigger savings: $130 off this specific model of

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 32 GB – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile)

That’s just for the 32 GB version (with or without Special Offers).That brings it down to $299 (from $429) with Special Offers for this 8.9″ screen version of the latest Kindle Fire.

It also oddly makes the 32GB less expensive than the 16GB right now.

Check the price before you click that Buy button: this may not apply in your country, or you may see this after today’s sale has ended.

What do you think? How could Amazon be further integrated into your life…and should it be? Would “smart link shopping” be an attractive thing to you? Do you think you would buy more things from Amazon if it was even easier? Would you want to see a “you saved” statement? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

** There’s no arguing that Mitchell is reading e-books…and yes, that includes classics. The mechanism isn’t like a Kindle…it’s more like the Kindle for PC app, reading them on a pretty large screen. Each book appears to come on a separate “tape”, and they do have a reference to page numbers. It doesn’t appear that the Enterprise has all that many books. Mitchell reads “half the library”, in what is clearly a fast time, but not super fast…and we see how quickly the “esper” can turn pages. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

14 Responses to “Hey, Amazon! Sell me MORE stuff”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    It sounds as if what you’re really wanting in Commander Data in a box;)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      Well, I’m not sure that an emotion chip wouldn’t complicate my SmartPhone’s performance…”I’m sorry, but that site just irritates me. Wouldn’t you like me to show you something else?” 😉

  2. Lona J. Says:

    random comment, not related.
    I live in the greater Seattle area (about 20 miles from Amazon headquarters). I am also a Prime member. Lately I have started getting Prime package deliveries on holidays (got a package on July 4) and Sundays. I didn’t ask for special handling although when I made the order I was told that the delivery would be on those dates. The carrier is USPS. On Sunday the mailman didn’t know what’s going on either but she had a bin full of Amazon packages to deliver. Is anyone else experiencing this? Is Amazon trying to save the Postal Service?

    • Lady Galaxy Says:

      I’ve been getting Sunday packages ever since they announced the service, and I live in a rural area. I’d prefer not to because I’m frequently not home on Sunday and don’t like having unattended packages on the porch. The only solution I’ve found is to try to remember not to place orders on Fridays.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        Amazon has also experimented with giving people video credits for letting Prime packages be delivered more slowly…but predicting which day something will arrive would be more difficult in that case (since you probably aren’t given a drop dead two-day type date…I would guess it’s one of those “seven to ten day” type deals).

    • Edward Boyhan Says:

      Sunday/holiday deliveries are a new delivery feature that Amazon is providing in conjunction with the USPS. Amazon ships your order internally to a “sortation” center near your zip code where packages are sorted according to zip code and then handed off to the local USPS office for final delivery — AFAIK it’s only available in certain geographies.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        Yes, only certain geographies.


        USA Today post by Edward C. Baig

        on May 8th said

        “The additional markets: Austin; Cincinnati; College Station, Texas; Columbus; Dallas; Houston; Indianapolis; Lexington, Ky.; Louisville; New Orleans; Oklahoma City; Philadelphia; San Antonio; Shreveport, La.; and Waco, Texas. Amazon plans to roll out the program to more of the U.S. population during the year.”

        That’s additional to New York and L.A..

        Based on what Lona said, they’ve continued to expand beyond that…

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lona!

      Amazon announced Sunday delivery in November of last year:


      The press release is linked in my post above.

      So, yes, some people are experiencing it. 🙂 It started in New York and L.A. but they were planning to considerably expand it this year.

      However, I wouldn’t count on Amazon saving the Postal Service. I think this is a short-term arrangement while Amazon increasingly develops its own delivery services…which no doubt has UPS and FedEx concerned.

      It’s possible that within about five years, where you live, Amazon will be delivering items which weigh less than five pounds via drone…and within perhaps an hour of you ordering it. That would largely cut out delivery services (including the USPS) for packages which fit that profile (both in the nature of the item and the geography of the customer).

  3. Hey, Amazon! Sell me MORE stuff | I Love My Kindle - IBook Store Says:

    […] Originally posted here: Hey, Amazon! Sell me MORE stuff | I Love My Kindle […]

  4. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I think a lot of the kindle “deals” we are seeing now (and probably for the next little while) are inventory clearance actions in preparation for kindle product refreshes sometime in the fall for the holiday selling season.

    Your wish for $$$ saved a la Safeway (here in FL it would be Publix :grin) made me think of one thing I’d really like to see: an annual report of everything I’d spent at Amazon broken down by Prime vs non-Prime; books, music, household staples, electronics, etc; monies saved; shipping costs; sales taxes paid — just like the annual reports you get from the premium credit card companies.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      It’s possible they are reducing inventory, although Amazon’s quite good at dealing with inventory. 🙂 I don’t know how production runs work for Kindle devices. Would you guess they have enough stock in warehouses now to last until, say, the end of November? My guess is that the product is shipped in more steadily than that, but again, I’m just guessing.

      I’d like to see reporting on sales tax (that would make things easier), but I’m not sure where the advantage would be to aggregated data to customers at the end of the year for their costs and for when they didn’t save on things that weren’t Prime.

      That’s why I think a per transaction statement would work well for them. “You saved $5.35!” If there is no savings, no statement…so people can only get good news. 😉 If you aggregate and state what isn’t Prime, they can get bad news, too…

  5. haley Says:

    Not related but still important question (to me at least)…I currently have the kindle touch, should I buy a Kindle Paper White? (not the 3G version, I pay for the wifi at home and it works just fine)
    But is it worth the buy, switching one out for the other? I have been considering this for a while, and you seem like the person to ask. Also which one has more memory?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, haley!

      The question of whether it is “worth” the switch or not is too individual to answer. 🙂 It will be worth it to some people, not to others. One factor: how much do you like/dislike change? 😉

      If you are happy with what you have…well, happy is a good thing.

      I would say the two main features that one has over the other are:

      * Kindle Touch: sound. You can listen to audiobooks, text-to-speech, and music. I typically use TTS for hours a week in the car

      * Kindle Paperwhite: the light. The Paperwhite is the most comfortable reading experience I’ve ever had, including paper

      Amazon does have a generous thirty-day return policy on Kindles. You could try the Paperwhite and decide for yourself. If it is working as advertised, you’d be expected to pay the return shipping (which should be just a few dollars).

      The Paperwhite has about half the memory of the Touch…they both have just about unlimited storage at Amazon. You’d probably find that you need less memory with the Paperwhite, if you’ve been putting audio files on the Touch.

      My advice? If you are happy, wait. Prices tend to come down, features tend to increase.

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        I converted to a PW2 a while back from a KT. For the most part the user interface differences were minor. And the front lighting is truly amazing in bright sunlight, and just in generally improving readability.

        One big problem, however, revolves around collections — at the time of conversion. The PW2 uses cloud collections whereas the KT uses device-resident collections. At the time that you register the new PW2, it will try to create cloud collections based on ALL the device collections it finds on ALL the kindles registered to a single Amazon account. The original PW2 software to do this created lots of problems for users with multiple kindles and/or multiple users (each with their own set of collections) such that converted PW2’s could end up a mess.

        Amazon changed the software to partially fix this (my PW2 arrived on the last day that the old software was in effect — so I’m not really up on the new stuff :grin). If you only have one kindle (your KT) and you are the only user on your Amazon account, you shouldn’t have any problems. If not, then you might want to read the PW2 software docs carefully as regards cloud collections, and visit the forums to see if there are any residual problems with cloud collections on the PW2.

        Also be aware that Amazon is currently in the process of rolling out a new software release for the PW2 (1 beyond the one with the collections fix). It has some new features. My Pw2 hasn’t updated yet — so I’m not sure of the details. Maybe Bufo has done a column on this, or can comment here.

        If you buy a PW2, it will probably come with the latest software already installed.

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